Meet Our Staff
The Tinkering School Collaborators each bring their own unique and exciting perspective to each workshop. We are artists, parents, educators, child specialists, scientists, makers, and thinkers who are silly and also very serious about building community and building cool things with kids!
Gever founded Tinkering School in 2005 in order to learn how children become competent and to explore the notion that kids can build anything, and through building, learn anything. A self-taught computer scientist with no formal education, Gever’s expertise is really in… thinking. Gever has taught workshops and made presentations to both kids and adults around the world. He has spoken at TED, twice, written articles for MAKE:, and authored the book Fifty Dangerous Things (you should let your children do).
When you find yourself spending more and more time hanging around places because it feeds your soul, you eventually realize that you should work there. This has been the theme of Karen’s entire employment history, which means that she’s spent a lot of time hanging out in boat yards, on a chase boat, in restaurants and biotech companies, and, most recently, right here at Tinkering School. Whether it was Jr. High School in the Virgin Islands, or college in Florida, or ending up in San Francisco because moving across the country with no job seemed like a good idea, Karen has always been confident that with equal parts of curiosity, ingenuity, and hard work, everything will just work out. Karen lives her life with the same philosophy behind Tinkering School and is looking forward to taking Tinkering School out into the surrounding communities soon. Karen does give credit that just a little bit of education (a BA in Business from Florida State University, and graduate coursework in Education at San Francisco State) helped along the way too.
Amanda N. Simons
Site Manager and Collaborator
Amanda holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studio Art and an MA in Visual and Critical Studies from California College of the Arts, as well as a BFA in painting and a BA in English from the University of Michigan-Flint. In short, Amanda is good at making things and writing about things.
Over the past fourteen years, Amanda has taught art, writing, professional development, and creative problem solving to humans age 5 through 65 in quite a few different settings: in homeless shelters, extended education programs, summer camps, k-12 schools, nonprofit art galleries, as well as through colleges in both California and Michigan. In her many past lives, Amanda has been a bronze caster, a printmaker, a mural painter, a writing tutor, a banker, a web designer, a kid wrangler, a research assistant, an ice cream scooper, a curator, an art critic, and, most recently, a professor.
In addition to working the TS after school, weekend, and summer programs, Amanda also currently teaches English and Critical Studies to older humans at San Francisco Art Institute.